The number of New Hampshire COVID-19 positive tests is rising amid a fall surge, it’s true. But despite headlines declaring daily positive tests setting state records, only a fraction of Granite Staters are being hospitalized or dying due to the coronavirus. The impact of COVID-19 today stands in stark contrast to its impact during the spring surge earlier in the year.
In the first ten days of November, there have been 1 million positive tests across the United States. That’s a new record. And in New Hampshire, there have been 1,867 positive tests since November 1. On November 5, there were 252 positive tests in a single day — a record high.
However, during that same 10-day period, there were just six coronavirus deaths — a fatality rate of 0.32 percent.
Compare that to the first ten days in May when, yes, there were fewer positive tests — 955 — but there were also far fewer tests. More importantly, there were 61 deaths, for a fatality rate of 6.4 percent. That’s literally 20 times higher than the death rate today.
Yes, hospitalizations are averaging around 50 per day, but once again that’s a far smaller percentage of known infections requiring hospitalization. As of May 10, there were 1,709 active cases and 113 hospitalizations (6.6 percent).
On November 10, there were 2,197 active cases and 61 hospitalizations (2.8 percent).
It’s also true the seven-day average positive test rate has doubled in just a few weeks, but that’s because the rate fell so low over the summer. It just recently broke 2 percent.
There is no doubt that COVID-19 is spreading across New Hampshire faster than it did this summer, when numbers plunged to almost non-existent. But more people testing positive isn’t a health crisis. Sick and dying people are. And fortunately, New Hampshire has very few of those.
As long as the deaths remain nearly entirely among long-term care facility populations — who are already isolated — pushing for more restrictions or yet another lockdown simply isn’t supported by the numbers in New Hampshire.
One number that hasn’t changed: The number of Granite Staters under the age of 60 without any comorbidities who’ve died from COVID-19. That number is still zero.